I have a couple of small news items to share. Nothing major, and all ToolGuyd.com server related.
First, I upgraded to a bigger and beefier server these past few days. That’s why there was only one post yesterday – I was working with the host to iron out some issues we were seeing. The new server went live in the wee hours of the morning today.
You should see faster ToolGuyd loading times, maybe not. I will be working to tune the server in hopes of squeezing out as much speed and performance as possible. You definitely shouldn’t be seeing slower loading speeds. If you do, please let me know!
There is some lag when posting comments. I’m not sure why, but I’ll do some testing to see if I can iron that out.
In previous days and weeks, you might have noticed slowdowns here and there. Or maybe you didn’t. I certainly noticed, and so did Ben (Ben the awesome contributor, and not Ben my son). Bot activity has been hitting the server hard, draining resources. Fewer resources means slower speeds for readers. Every time the issue came up, they pointed to CloudFlare as a way to control and minimize spam bot activity.
So I installed CloudFlare, a sort of gatekeeper service, two weeks ago. Here is the result, taken from the anonymous server logs:
What you can see here is that the number of human pageviews is around the same, but “hits” and bandwidth usage are way down. “Visits” hasn’t changed much. This means that bots are still hitting the site, but they’re not hogging as many resources. They hit the site and are shown the door.
I also modified access permission for 2 annoying but legitimate bots. Instead of letting them hit the site all at once, I set it so that they must wait 30 seconds between individual page requests.
Unfortunately, the semi-frequent slowdowns persisted, which means the server was still being over-taxed by “real” traffic. After a lot of thought and planning I finally moved the site over to a beefier server with greater resources. You might or might not see a noticeable increase in speed, but the main goal was to prevent slowdowns during heavier traffic periods throughout the day.
There is one unintended temporary issue: there seems to be a small hiccup between the old and new server, where some reader comments are being submitted to the old server and not the new one. I believe I fixed that issue, and will manually copy the new comments over. I can’t re-sync, because that would overwrite comments already submitted to the new server.